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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2805 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

We have exceeded all targets set for vocational education, and we have provided new options for our secondary students, 37 per cent of whom go on to university, which is more than the Australian average of about 30 per cent. Even so, a significant number, well over 60 per cent, do not. For those kids who do not go on to university, vocational training means significantly more opportunities for them. Very importantly, at the other end of the spectrum, a lot more older workers are coming back into traineeships and apprenticeships. We have also provided new options for adults to enter a wide variety of trade and semi-professional careers which were previously not available.

In the traditional trade areas where employers and apprentices were critical of the unresponsive and rigid nature of the training, we now have a program to support training providers to deliver flexible workplace focused training. This involves training and case studies which include an effective mix of class based and work based training; support for employers in training and assessing in their workplace; the use of on-line training materials; and the use of new training packages to customise training for the best skill mix required for the business.

I think the ACT can be rightly proud of its record, which has contributed to the excellent economic development that we are currently experiencing, with unemployment down to its lowest level in a decade and employment at an absolute record high. This all contributes to jobs, jobs, jobs for our community.

MR HIRD: I ask a supplementary question. That is very pleasing but on the matter that the Minister raised with respect to the prize let me just say that Bill is a mate of mine but he is off my Christmas list. Minister, is this another example of the importance which the Carnell Government places on job creation?

MR STEFANIAK: It certainly is. I am sorry to hear about the Christmas list, mate, but do not worry. I will still give you a present, and it will not be like the one you won. This is another classic example of the importance which our Government places on job creation. Training and jobs go hand in hand. If the training is available, if the new apprenticeships are available, they assist in ensuring that our work force is able to go into jobs or change jobs. It creates that many more opportunities. I think we can be rightly proud of the figures. They are a great result for the ACT.

CityScape Staff

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I understand that your department has slashed $650,000 from the CityScape budget, which will eliminate weekend overtime. What this will mean, of course, is that the state of shopping centres and public toilets will deteriorate. How do you expect these facilities to be cleaned on weekends, and why is your department withdrawing from providing government services?


: Mr Speaker, it is funny that Mr Hargreaves should ask this question. These are the people who have stood in the way of all government reforms to deliver better services to the people of Canberra. When we outsourced the first area, the Woden-Weston area, for services we made a saving of some $500,000. What are we actually getting? We are getting better service and we are getting better conditions.

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